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The dietary inclusion of feed additives to improve the carcass characteristics of the final product is of great importance for the pork production chain. The aim of our study was to evaluate the effects of the association of ractopamine (RAC) and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) on the performance traits of finishing pigs during the last 26 days prior to slaughter. In total, 810 commercial hybrid barrows were used. Animals were distributed among treatments according to a randomised block design in a 3 × 3 factorial arrangement, with three RAC levels (0, 5 or 10 ppm) and three CLA levels (0, 0.3 or 0.6%). Pigs fed the diet with 5 ppm RAC had higher average daily feed intake (ADFI) (2.83 kg; P < 0.05) when compared with those fed 10 ppm RAC and the control diet (2.75 and 2.74 kg, respectively). Lower ADFI values (P < 0.01) were observed with the diets containing CLA compared with the control diet with no CLA (2.73 and 2.75 v. 2.85 kg/day, respectively). The average daily weight gain of pigs fed 5 and 10 ppm RAC was +148 and +173 g/dayhigher (P < 0.001), respectively, than those fed the control diet. Dietary RAC levels influenced (P < 0.001) feed conversion ratio (FCR), which was reduced as RAC levels increased, with the pigs fed 10, 5 and 0 ppm RAC presenting FCR values of 2.57, 2.71 and 3.05, respectively. FCR also improved (P < 0.05) with the inclusion of 0.6% CLA relative to the control diet (2.70 v. 2.84, respectively). There was a significant interaction between CLA × RAC levels (P < 0.01) for final BW, loin eye area (LEA) (P < 0.05) and backfat thickness (BT) (P < 0.05). The treatments containing 10 ppm RAC + 0.6% or 0.3% CLA increased LEA and reduced BT. In conclusion, the level of 10 ppm inclusion of RAC increased the overall performance parameters of pigs and therefore improved production efficiency. The combined use of RAC and CLA promoted a lower feed conversion ratio as well as better quantitative carcass traits, as demonstrated by the higher LEA and lower BT. The dietary inclusion of CLA at 0.3% improved feed efficiency, however, without affecting LEA or BT yields.
Hepatocytes constitute the majority of hepatic cells, and play a key role in controlling systemic innate immunity, via pattern-recognition receptors (PRRs) and by synthesizing complement and acute phase proteins. Leishmania infantum, a protozoan parasite that causes human and canine leishmaniasis, infects liver by establishing inside the Kupffer cells. The current study proposes the elucidation of the immune response generated by dog hepatocytes when exposed to L. infantum. Additionally, the impact of adding leishmanicidal compound, meglumine antimoniate (MgA), to parasite-exposed hepatocytes was also addressed. L. infantum presents a high tropism to hepatocytes, establishing strong membrane interactions. The possibility of L. infantum internalization by hepatocytes was raised, but not confirmed. Hepatocytes were able to recognize parasite presence, inducing PRRs [nucleotide oligomerization domain (NOD)1, NOD2 and Toll-like receptor (TLR)2] gene expression and generating a mix pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine response. Reduction of cytochrome P 450s enzyme activity was also observed concomitant with the inflammatory response. Addition of MgA increased NOD2, TLR4 and interleukin 10 gene expression, indicating an immunomodulatory role for MgA. Hepatocytes seem to have a major role in coordinating liver's innate immune response against L. infantum infection, activating inflammatory mechanisms, but always balancing the inflammatory response in order to avoid cell damage.
Portugal was one of the European countries most affected by the period of economic recession initiated in 2008. Social inequalities are likely to widen during such periods and disproportionately affect people with mental disorders. The present study aims to compare self-reported changes in indicators of socioeconomic position during the economic recession in Portugal among people with and without mental disorders in the beginning of this period. Three dimensions were assessed, namely employment situation, experiences of financial hardship and subjective social status.
Data from the World Mental Health Survey Initiative Portugal (2008/2009) and from the National Mental Health Survey Follow-up (2015/2016) were used (n = 911). Multinomial and logistic recession models were performed to examine the association between the presence of any 12-month mood or anxiety mental disorder in 2008/2009 and indicators of socioeconomic position in 2015/2016. All analyses were adjusted for gender, age, presence of any physical disorder and education at the baseline.
Participants that had any mental disorder in the beginning of the economic recession reported 2.20 (95% CI 1.31–3.71; P < 0.01) higher odds of financial hardship related to daily life in 2015/2016, when compared with those without any mental disorder, after adjusting for age, gender, education and presence of any physical disorder. The results may also suggest a pattern of increased socioeconomic disadvantage among people with prior mental disorder, despite not reaching statistical significance.
The results of this study suggest that the economic recession may have contributed to wider social inequalities between people with and without mental disorders. Policies to support these individuals, such as access to treatment and alleviation of financial hardship, should be a priority in times of economic downturn.
The use of fast and non-destructive techniques for identifying sugarcane varieties enables the development of automatic sorting systems, contributing towards improving pre-processing steps in the alcohol and sugar industries. In this context, principal component analysis (PCA), factorial discriminant analysis (FDA), stepwise forward discriminant analysis (SFDA) and partial least-squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) were used to classify four Brazilian sugarcane varieties based on visible/near infrared (Vis/NIR) spectral reflectance measurements (450–1000 nm range) of stalks. All wavelengths contributed towards discriminating the sugarcane varieties, but the 600–750 nm range was most relevant. When evaluating PCA results considering the four sugarcane varieties, two of them overlapped and it was only possible to use classifiers of three varieties. Factorial discriminant analysis, PLS-DA and SFDA reached correct classifications of 0.81, 0.82 and 0.74, respectively, when considering the external validation data and the four sugarcane varieties evaluated. Results showed that Vis/NIR spectroscopy combined with discriminating methods is a promising tool for non-destructive and fast sugarcane variety classification, which can be used in the agro-food industry or directly in the field.
Although a national programme for control of visceral leishmaniosis (VL) is being run in Brazil, the disease continues to spread. This programme is essentially based on culling infected dogs from endemic regions. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop other control measures against VL to deter its advance. Here, a subunit vaccine, a recombinant vaccine, an insecticide-impregnated collar and the associations between these measures were evaluated for reducing the incidence of Leishmania infection in dogs. This was through a cohort study conducted in an endemic region of Brazil, considering the incidence and time of total exposure over a period of 1 year. The incidence of VL was estimated by means of serological and molecular diagnostic tests, 180 and 360 days after the application of the control measures. The estimates of the effectiveness (EF) were not significant in any cohort. The EF of the subunit vaccine, the recombinant vaccine and the collar were 26.4%, 32.8% and 57.7% and the upper limit of the 95% confidence interval for EF were 63.7%, 67.9% and 82.5%, respectively. In conclusion, under the conditions of this study, none of the immunogens for VL control was sufficiently effective to protect dogs against infection. On the other hand, use of collars impregnated with insecticide seems to constitute a method with better prognosis, corroborating other studies in this field.
This study assessed the incidence and risk factors for dengue virus (DENV) infection among children in a prospective birth cohort conducted in the city of Recife, a hyperendemic dengue area in Northeast Brazil. Healthy pregnant women (n = 415) residing in Recife who agreed to have their children followed were enrolled. Children were followed during their first 24 months of age (May/2011–June/2014), before the 2015 Zika virus outbreak. DENV infection was detected by reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and/or serology (anti-DENV IgM/IgG). The incidence rates per 1000 person-years (py) and its association with risk factors by age bands (0–12, >12–30 months) were estimated through Poisson regression models. Forty-nine dengue infections were detected; none progressed to severe forms. The incidence rates were 107·6/1000py (95% CI 76·8–150·6) and 93·3/1000py (95% CI 56·1–154·4) in the first and second years of age, respectively. Male children (risk ratios (RR) = 2·33; 95% CI 1·09–4·98) and those born to DENV-naïve mothers (RR = 2·42; 95% CI 1·01–5·80) were at greater risk of infection in the first year of age. In the second year, children born to Caucasian/Asian descent skin colour mothers had a threefold higher risk of infection (RR = 3·34; 95% CI: 1·08–10·33). These data show the high exposure of children to DENV infection in our setting and highlight the role of biological factors in this population's susceptibility to infection.
Euthanasia of infected dogs is one of the measures adopted in Brazil to control visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in endemic areas. To detect infected dogs, animals are screened with the rapid test DPP® Visceral Canine Leishmaniasis for detection of antibodies against K26/K39 fusion antigens of amastigotes (DPP). DPP-positives are confirmed with an immunoenzymatic assay probing soluble antigens of promastigotes (ELISA), while DPP-negatives are considered free of infection. Here, 975 dogs from an endemic region were surveyed by using DPP, ELISA and real-time PCR (qPCR) for the diagnosis of VL. When DPP-negative dogs were tested by qPCR applied in blood and lymph node aspirates, 174/887 (19·6%) were positive in at least one sample. In a second sampling using 115 cases, the DPP-negative dogs were tested by qPCR in blood, lymph node and conjunctival swab samples, and 36/79 (45·6%) were positive in at least one sample. Low-to-moderate pairwise agreement was observed between all possible pair of tests. In conclusion, the official diagnosis of VL in dogs in Brazilian endemic areas failed to accuse an expressive number of infected animals and the impact of the low accuracy of serological tests in the success of euthanasia-based measure for VL control need to be assessed.
The production of pork with moderate amounts of intramuscular fat (IMF) without an increase in subcutaneous fat is highly desirable for the meat industry. Several studies indicate that dietary protein reduction during the growing–finishing period of pigs enhances IMF content, but its consequence on carcass fat deposition is still contradictory. In this study, we hypothesized that the effects of reduced protein diets (RPD), corrected or not with the limiting amino acid lysine, on subcutaneous fat deposition from pigs with distinct genotypes are mediated by adipose membranes biophysical properties. In total, 36 crossbred (Large White×Landrace×Pietrain – a lean genotype) and purebred (Alentejana breed – a fatty genotype) male pigs were randomly assigned to the control group, the RPD group or the reduced protein diet equilibrated for lysine (RPDL) group, allowing a 2×3 factorial arrangement (n=6). Backfat thickness and total fatty acid content were higher in Alentejana relative to crossbred pigs. Although dietary treatments did not change backfat thickness, RPD and RPDL increased total fatty acids content of subcutaneous fat. In order to understand this effect, adipose tissue membranes isolated from pig’s subcutaneous fat were assayed for glycerol permeability and fluidity, using 1,6-diphenyl-1,3,5-hexatriene (DPH) and 1-(4-(trimethylamino)-phenyl)-6-phenyl-1,3,5-hexatriene (TMA-DPH) probes. The glycerol transport across adipose membranes was not mediated by aquaglyceroporins and remained unchanged across dietary groups. Regardless of lysine correction, RPD increased membrane fluidity at the hydrocarbon region (lower DPH fluorescence anisotropy) in both genotypes of pigs. This result was associated with a lower ratio between oleic acid and linoleic acid on membrane’s fatty acid composition. Adipose membrane’s cholesterol content was independent from genotype and diet. Taken together, the present study shows that dietary protein reduction is successful in maintaining backfat thickness, although a negative side effect was observed on total fatty acids in subcutaneous fat, which may be due to changes in the fluidity of adipose membranes.
The Mississippian volcano-sedimentary complex in the Toca da Moura – Cabrela areas represents remnants of intra-volcanic marine sedimentary basins, formed during the collision between the Ossa Morena Zone with the South Portuguese Zone. These rock units are unconformably overlain by the Pennsylvanian intramontane coal-bearing Santa Susana Basin. Vitrinite reflectance determinations from rocks of these two basins indicate two episodes of thermal maturation. During the first episode, the Toca da Moura – Cabrela volcano-sedimentary complexes attained high maturation levels, equivalent to anthracite coal rank (3.0–3.5% Roran), which pre-dates the middle Moscovian Santa Susana Basin. The Santa Susana Basin attained moderate maturation levels equivalent to bituminous coal rank (1.35–1.5% Roran) recording a second episode of thermal maturation. Here, peak thermal conditions did not overprint the first maturation episode. The observed effects of magmatic intrusion on the thermal maturity and the lack of any increase in vitrinite reflectance with depth through c. 400 m of section in borehole SDJ-1 indicate high geothermal gradients during the first maturation episode. A contemporaneous magmatic event associated with the c. 335–320 Ma Cuba-Alvito Gabbros/Diorites of the Beja Massif was the possible cause for the high geothermal gradients postulated for the first maturation episode. Burial under a post-upper Moscovian sedimentary cover was the most likely process to account for the maturation levels determined for the Santa Susana Basin and for the second episode of thermal maturation.
Copper activation was used to characterize high-energy proton beam acceleration from near-critical density plasma targets. An enhancement was observed when decreasing the target density, which is indicative for an increased laser-accelerated hot electron density at the rear target-vacuum boundary. This is due to channel formation and collimation of the hot electrons inside the target. Particle-in-cell simulations support the experimental observations and show the correlation between channel depth and longitudinal electric field strength is directly correlated with the proton acceleration.
Despite the widespread adoption of hormonal synchronization protocols that allow for timed artificial insemination (AI), detection of estrus plays an important role in the reproductive management program on most dairies in the United States. Increased physical activity is a secondary sign of estrus in dairy cattle, and a new generation of electronic systems that continuously monitor physical activity to predict timing of AI have been developed and marketed to the dairy industry. A variety of management and physiologic challenges inhibit detection of behavioral estrus on farms, but the prevalence of anouvular cows near the end of the voluntary waiting period is particularly problematic. Only 70% of lactating Holstein cows were detected in estrus when using an activity monitoring system, with the remaining 20% of cows classified as anovular and 10% ovulating without showing signs of activity. Mean time of AI in relation to ovulation based on the activity monitoring system was acceptable for most of the cows with increased activity, however, variability in the duration of estrus and timing of AI in relation to ovulation could result in poor pregnancy outcomes in some cows. Use of a Presynch–Ovsynch protocol for submission of cows for first AI has been widely adopted by dairies in the United States, and a combined approach in which AI based on activity is followed by submission of cows not detected with activity to timed AI after synchronization of ovulation may be an effective strategy for submission of cows to first AI. Based on a field trial on a large commercial dairy in the United States, the activity monitoring system detected 70% of cows with increased activity after the second PGF2α injection of a Presynch–Ovsynch protocol, however, cows inseminated to increased activity had fewer pregnancies per AI (P/AI) compared with cows with increased activity after the second PGF2α injection that received timed AI after completing the Presynch–Ovsynch protocol. Based on an economic model comparing reproductive management programs with varying levels of AI to estrus v. timed AI, the rate of estrus detection and the P/AI to inseminations based on AI to detected estrus v. timed AI affected the decision to inseminate based on activity v. timed AI. In conclusion, an activity monitoring system detected increased activity in about 70% of lactating Holstein cows on a large commercial dairy in the United States, however, synchronization of ovulation and timed AI was beneficial to inseminate cows not detected with increased activity by the activity monitoring system.
The presence of an atmosphere, initially suggested based on limb darkening by Sola (1904) and later by the presence of methane spectral lines by Kuiper (1944), has long given Titan a special place in the minds of planetary geologists. The first close-up images were obtained by Pioneer 11 in 1979 (Gehrels et al., 1980), confirming a substantial atmosphere. These early observations led to the diversion of the trajectory of the Voyager I spacecraft to a closer encounter with Titan in 1980. Although the visible cameras on Voyager also had difficulty seeing Titan's surface (Richardson et al., 2004), radio occultation experiments suggested a surface pressure of 1.5 bars and temperature near 95 K (Lindal et al., 1983). These results were exciting because, for a methane mixing ratio of a few percent at the surface (Hunten, 1978), they placed methane's partial pressure near its triple point. Thus, like water on Earth, solid, liquid, and gaseous methane could potentially exist in Titan's environment. Ethane, which is the main product of methane photolysis, can also be liquid under these conditions. The presence of condensable volatiles in Titan's thick atmosphere opens the door for active fluvial, lacustrine, and pluvial processes that can shape its landscape with similar morphologies to those we find on Earth.
Prompted by the exciting results of the Voyager mission and the nearly two decades of Earth-based imaging campaigns that followed, NASA/ESA launched the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn in 1997. To penetrate Titan's thick atmosphere, Cassini is equipped with a Ku-band radar capable of obtaining images of the surface at a scale of 300 meters.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the purine levels of lambs experimentally infected with Haemonchus contortus. A total of 12 healthy lambs were divided into two groups, composed of 6 animals each: Group A represented the healthy animals (uninfected), while in Group B the animals were infected with 15 000 larvae of H. contortus. Blood was drawn on days 15, 45 and 75 post-infection (PI) in order to perform the purine analysis (ATP, ADP, AMP, adenosine, inosine, hypoxanthine, xanthine and uric acid) by high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) in serum. On day 15 PI a significant (P<0·05) increase in the levels of ATP and inosine was observed in the infected animals, unlike the levels of ADP, adenosine, xanthine and uric acid which were reduced. On day 45 PI a significant (P<0·05) increase in the ATP and xanthine levels in infected animals was observed, contrasting with reduced levels of ADP and uric acid. Finally, on day 75 PI an increase occurred in the levels of ATP, adenosine and hypoxanthine in infected lambs, concomitant with a reduction in the levels of ADP and uric acid (P<0·05). These changes in purine levels may influence the inflammatory process and the pathological events.
The aim of this study was to investigate neurochemical and enzymatic changes in rats infected with Trypanosoma evansi, and their interference in the cognitive parameters. Behavioural assessment (assessment of cognitive performance), evaluation of cerebral L-[3H]glutamate uptake, acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity and Ca+2 and Na+, K+-ATPase activity were evaluated at 5 and 30 days post infection (dpi). This study demonstrates a cognitive impairment in rats infected with T. evansi. At 5 dpi memory deficit was demonstrated by an inhibitory avoidance test. With the chronicity of the disease (30 dpi) animals showed anxiety symptoms. It is possible the inhibition of cerebral Na+, K+-ATPase activity, AChE and synaptosomal glutamate uptake are involved in cognitive impairment in infected rats by T. evansi. The understanding of cerebral host–parasite relationship may shed some light on the cryptic symptoms of animals and possibly human infection where patients often present with other central nervous system (CNS) disorders.
The Vista Variables in the Vía Láctea (VVV) ESO Public Survey is an ongoing time-series, near-infrared (IR) survey of the Galactic bulge and an adjacent portion of the inner disk, covering 562 square degrees of the sky, using ESO's VISTA telescope. The survey has provided superb multi-color photometry in 5 broadband filters (Z, Y, J, H, and Ks), leading to the best map of the inner Milky Way ever obtained, particularly in the near-IR. The main part of the survey, which is focused on the variability in the Ks-band, is currently underway, with bulge fields observed between 34 and 73 times, and disk fields between 34 and 36 times. When the survey is complete, bulge (disk) fields will have been observed up to a total of 100 (60) times, providing unprecedented depth and time coverage in the near-IR. Here we provide a first overview of stellar variability in the VVV data.
This paper reports the effects of BnSP-7 toxin, a catalytically inactive phospholipase A2 from Bothrops pauloensis snake venom, on Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis. BnSP-7 presented activity against promastigote parasite forms both in the MTT assay, with IC50 of 58·7 μg mL−1 of toxin, and a growth curve, inhibiting parasite proliferation 60–70% at concentrations of 50–200 μg mL−1 of toxin 96 h after treatment. Also, the toxin presented effects on amastigotes, reducing parasite viability by 50% at 28·1 μg mL−1 and delaying the amastigote–promastigote differentiation process. Ultrastructural studies showed that BnSP-7 caused severe morphological changes in promastigotes such as mitochondrial swelling, nuclear alteration, vacuolization, acidocalcisomes, multiflagellar aspects and a blebbing effect in the plasma membrane. Finally, BnSP-7 interfered with the infective capacity of promastigotes in murine peritoneal macrophages, causing statistically significant infectivity-index reductions (P < 0·05) of 20–35%. These data suggest that the BnSP-7 toxin is an important tool for the discovery of new parasite targets that can be exploited to develop new drugs for treating leishmaniasis.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the anti-trypanosomal effect of treatment with 3′-deoxyadenosine (cordycepin) combined with deoxycoformycin (pentostatin: inhibitor of the enzyme adenosine deaminase) in vitro by using mice experimentally infected with Trypanosoma evansi. In vitro, a dose-dependent trypanocidal effect of cordycepin was observed against the parasite. In the in vivo trials, the two drugs were used individually and in combination of different doses. The drugs when used individually had no curative effect on infected mice. However, the combination of cordycepin (2 mg kg−1) and pentostatin (2 mg kg−1) was 100% effective in the T. evansi-infected groups. There was an increase in levels of some biochemical parameters, especially on liver enzymes, which were accompanied by histological lesions in the liver and kidneys. Based on these results we conclude that treatment using the combination of 3′-deoxyadenosine with deoxycoformycin has a curative effect on mice infected with T. evansi. However, the therapeutic protocol tested led to liver and kidney damage, manifested by hepatotoxicity and nephrotoxicity.
Recent studies have claimed the existence of very massive stars (VMS) up to 300 M⊙ in the local Universe. As this finding may represent a paradigm shift for the canonical stellar upper-mass limit of 150 M⊙, it is timely to discuss the status of the data, as well as the far-reaching implications of such objects. We held a Joint Discussion at the General Assembly in Beijing to discuss (i) the determination of the current masses of the most massive stars, (ii) the formation of VMS, (iii) their mass loss, and (iv) their evolution and final fate. The prime aim was to reach broad consensus between observers and theorists on how to identify and quantify the dominant physical processes.
Trypanosoma evansi is the aetiological agent of trypanosomosis in domestic animals. In this pathology, an inflammatory response can be observed and, as a consequence, the increase of extracellular adenine nucleotides such as ATP. These nucleotide concentrations are regulated by ectoenzymes such as NTPDase (EC 184.108.40.206, CD39), which catalyses the hydrolysis of ATP and ADP into AMP. In this study, the activity of NTPDase in lymphocytes of rats experimentally infected with T. evansi was evaluated. The animals were inoculated with the parasite and monitored by blood smear on a daily basis. The animals were then were divided into 4 groups according to the degree of parasitaemia and period of infection. The blood collections for enzyme analysis and lymphocyte count were performed on the 3rd (beginning of infection), 5th (acute infection) and 15th (chronic infection) days post-infection (p.i.). The control group was composed of non-infected animals. In the infected group a decrease in ATP hydrolysis (36%) was observed on the 3rd day p.i. and a decrease in ADP hydrolysis (62%) was observed on the 5th day p.i. when compared to the control. On the 15th day p.i., an increase in ATP (94%) and ADP (50%) hydrolysis was observed in the infected group. Considering these data it is suggested that NTPDase activity is altered on the surface of lymphocytes of rats infected with T. evansi at different time-points of infection.